UK war fears as British Army boasts fewer tanks than neutral Switzerland

UK war fears as British Army boasts fewer tanks than neutral Switzerland

With only 217 armoured tanks, the UK sits in 57th place for vehicle numbers – ranking worryingly behind peace-loving Switzerland who haven’t fought in a war in 200 years

The British Army now has fewer tanks than the peace-loving Swiss. We have 213 tanks while neutral Switzerland, which has not fought in a war for 200 years, boasts 380. Military experts warn our fleet is not enough – yet new Challenger 3 tanks are not due to enter service until 2027 or be fully operational until 2030.

Armoured vehicles have proved vital in modern conflicts such as the war in Ukraine, despite high-tech advances in military weapons. Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired British Army officer, urged: “Tanks remain critically important. We must significantly increase our numbers.”

Britain ranks 57th globally for its tank stockpile, while Putin’s Russia is at the top with 58 times more – a total of 12,566 tanks. The UK also lags behind the island of Madagascar, which has 386 tanks, according to the Global Firepower Index. However we place fifth in the world for overall military strength, which accounts for air and naval power and finances.

Yet some military figures are worried about the battlefield risks posed by the UK’s “unsustainable” number of tanks. Col Kemp, who served for 30 years, said: “ Ukraine yet again has shown why we need tanks. Next time we have to fight a serious war our enemy will have tanks. We will not prevail unless we are able to counter them with our own tanks. Wishful thinking of successive governments has allowed our fleet to diminish to numbers that are unsustainable for a serious fighting force.”

Britain’s stockpile was further depleted this year after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed to give 14 tanks to support Ukraine in its war against Russia. The Challenger 2 armoured vehicles, famed for their agility and power, saw action in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Tanks debuted in the First World War, when more than 2,636 were used, and proved crucial in the Second World War and as a deterrent in the Cold War. The Global Firepower Index ranks the US as the world’s strongest military force, followed by Russia, China, India and the UK.

An MOD spokesman said: “As well as supporting Ukraine on the front line, Challenger 2 tanks continue to meet the UK’s operational commitments. Challenger 3 will be the most lethal, protected and connected tank in Europe and we are reviewing the number being built to ensure the Army’s fleet is sufficient.”

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